Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Gallup Says 9 in 10 Americans Believe in God
- Five Killed in Islamist Bomb Attacks in Nigeria
- U.S. Episcopal Parish to Join Catholic Church
- Woman Charged with Taking Church Aid for Tornado Victims
Gallup Says 9 in 10 Americans Believe in God
A new Gallup poll finds 92 percent of Americans say they believe in God. Religion News Service reports that the figure has dropped by only a few points since Gallup first asked the question in the 1940s. Americans' self-reported belief in God has been relatively constant over the last 6 1/2 decades; the percentage of Americans who respond that they believe in God now stands within six points of the all-time high in the 1950s and 1960s. Previous Gallup surveys have shown that when respondents are given the ability to express doubts about their belief, the percentage of Americans who report a certain belief in God drops to 70 to 80 percent. Additionally, about 12 percent of Americans say they believe in a universal spirit or higher power instead of "God" when given that option. Still, the May 2011 poll reveals that when given only the choice between believing and not believing in God, more than 9 in 10 Americans say they do believe.
Five Killed in Islamist Bomb Attacks in Nigeria
Bombers set off seven explosions in Maiduguri, Nigeria on Tuesday, including one next to a Catholic church. The blasts killed at least five people. Police spokesman Lawal Abdullahi told Agence France-Presse that police engaged in a shootout with and killed at least three of the attackers in the city, situated in Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria. He said a bomb hurled by attackers into St. Patrick’s church missed the target and landed back out on the street where it went off, killing two passers-by. According to the Christian Post, the attackers were part of the Islamist sect Boko Haram, which has repeatedly attacked non-Islamic targets across the country. The group has also claimed responsibility for instigating and pursuing deadly violence following last months' president election.
U.S. Episcopal Parish to Join Catholic Church
A Maryland Episcopal parish will be the first in the United States to join the Roman Catholic Church under a new streamlined conversion process created by Pope Benedict XVI. According to leaders of both church groups, St. Luke's Episcopal parish in Bladensburg will come under the care of Washington Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl. USA Today reports that Washington Episcopal Bishop John Chane, a leading liberal in his denomination, said Monday that he approved St. Luke's decision and will allow the congregation to continue worshipping in their church under a lease with an option to buy the building. Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 issued an unprecedented invitation for Anglicans to become Catholic while retaining some Anglican liturgical heritage. Anglicans worldwide have been on the brink of schism over issues of biblical authority and orthodoxy.
Woman Charged with Taking Church Aid for Tornado Victims
A Massachusetts woman charged with larceny and fraud denied Tuesday that she stole donated items from a church that were intended for victims of a devastating tornado. Religion News Service reports that Christine Lajewski, 47, was charged with larceny over $250 under false pretenses and fraud at her arraignment. Police in Monson, where the June 1 tornado unleashed its lethal fury, said Lajewski told volunteers at First Church of Monson that her home and car were destroyed by the tornado in downtown Monson. But Lajewski's court-appointed lawyer said Lajewski told her she went to the church to volunteer, and to collect items for a friend's sister. Church volunteers immediately loaded her car with $700 to $800 worth of items -- baby formula and clothes, a $200 freezer, food, paper products, toys, stuffed animals and a gazebo tent. Marciniec said Lajewski kept some of the items for herself, while others were given to friends.